Does your dog bark a lot in the crate and upset the neighbors or wake you up at night? I’ve had this problem with my beagle, especially the first few months while he was a cute, but noisy puppy.
Being my first dog, and I had no idea how to deal with the noise.
Can I train Patton (yes, like the general) in a few days to stop barking? Or maybe soundproof the dog crate? Or maybe soundproof the room itself?
What I found is that all three of these methods can work, and I used them all to some extent. I managed to reduce the barking and whining a lot. And if it did occur on occasion, it could hardly be heard because I soundproofed the crate and it didn’t bother anyone.
You can train your dog to stop barking in his crate by using a training collar. It gives a slight, but annoying vibration whenever the dog barks. Also give your dog a comfort toy when left alone. But the quickest solution is to use a dog camera so you can speak to your doggy any time, especially when you get a barking alert on your phone. In addition to those tips, soundproof the dog crate by attaching a thick crate cover and/or covering it with a thick blanket.
Using these tips can really help as I learned through trial-and-error. I also want to share with you the best ways to implement them:
1. Make your doggy feel safe
When does your dog bark the most? Probably when you’re not around, or when it’s terribly anxious about something. So when you’re leaving, make sure that your dog feels safe. You can do that by eliminating a few common mistakes that some owners tend to do.
Place the crate in the right room
You should consider three factors when picking a room: 1) echo, 2) familiarity and 3) distance
I know that some people leave their puppies in the bathroom or the hallway when they go to work. That’s a bad idea. First of all, your dog is probably not used to relaxing and sleeping in the bathroom. And secondly, the barking in the bathroom or an empty hallway resonates a lot more than it does in other places. That can be due to ceramic tiles and lack of soft furniture and materials in general.
So ask yourself this question: in which room would your dog feel most comfortable to sleep and relax, which also has good acoustics? That’s usually the bedroom or the living room.
These rooms will also have more of your scent caught in the plush furniture, and dogs are very scent oriented. If they can smell their master, they don’t get as scared when they’re alone. After moving the crate around, I realized that my puppy barked less when I placed the crate near the sofa.
And lastly, think about the distance. The bigger the distance is between your dog and the annoyed neighbors, or your bedroom when you’re asleep, the less you’ll have to worry about the barking.
Cut down on emotional farewells
I know that feeling when you have to leave your puppy alone for a few hours. You just want to squeeze it with love and make sure it doesn’t forget that you’ll be back in no time. But this approach can leave the wrong impression. Your dog might feel like the situation is serious, and that you’re leaving forever.
Instead, when you’re leaving your home, don’t even make any eye contact. Make the departure as emotionless as possible. It might sound cruel, but it will signal to your dog that you’ll be back soon.
Place a dog camera in the crate or next to it
Dog cameras are pretty useful for reducing barking. You can connect to your doggy any time you want. So if your dog starts barking or acting funny, you’ll get a “barking alert”. You can then turn the camera on, speak to your doggy and assure him you’re always there in the shadows, like Batman!
The Furbo Dog Camera is the most popular dog camera with over 2000 customer reviews on Amazon.
It has useful features like:
- Treat tossing – It allows you to toss a treat to your dogs through the free Furbo iOS/Android app. You can fill it with over 100 pieces of your dogs’ favorite treats and play a game of catch.
- Great video quality – 1080p camera with night vision and 160 degree wide-angle view.
- Barking sensor – It sends a notification to your smartphone when it detects barking. You can calm your dog by talking to him through the app at any time.
- Easy setup – 1) plug in to a power outlet using its USB cord 2) download the Furbo app 3) connect to your home wifi. Done.
This is an affordable and instant solution for reducing barking and whining. Even if you don’t have a lot of time for training your dog at the moment.
You wouldn’t leave your baby without some fluffy entertainment, and there’s no reason to treat your dog any differently. To reduce anxiety while you’re away, make sure that there’s a fluffy companion in the dog crate.
If you don’t have one already, definitely check out Snuggle Puppy (link to Amazon). It’s the best toy for reducing barking, because it has a relaxing effect on the dog. It emits a pulsing heartbeat and a small amount of heat. It’s a great toy for puppies and grown-up dogs.
Providing your dog with an intellectual distraction is also a good strategy. The Kong toy for example requires your dog to chew in the correct way in order for a tasty treat to pop out. It can take a few hours for a dog to chew out all the treats you packed in there, which is enough to make him forget about barking during that time. Don’t underestimate the Kong toy. This video shows why it can be really helpful.
Make your doggy exhausted
Lastly, if you can make your doggy exhausted through playing or training, there will be less energy left for barking and whining. True story!
2. Find a dog sitter
Those first few months of a puppies life are a lot like having a baby. It needs a constant stream of attention. If you have to leave your home for 9-10 hours because of other responsibilities, getting a dog sitter can help.
Naturally, this option depends on whether you can pay for one or not. Dog sitters usually charge around $10 per hour, but you might be able to negotiate a lower price depending on where you live.
Find someone who’ll doggy sit for free
An alternative option is finding someone in the neighborhood, or perhaps a family member who would love to take care of the dog while you’re away.
If you know of someone who has a kid, and the kid just happens to love dogs, introduce him to Rocky and you’ve solved the problem. Elderly neighbors who are lonely and have a lot of time on their hands are also a good option. It doesn’t hurt to ask!
3. Crate train your doggy
Many owners feel that disciplining their furry friend is somehow cruel. But that’s simply not the case. Dogs, just like children need to be taught how to behave in certain environments to everyone’s benefit, including their own.
Being enclosed in a relatively small area like a dog crate can make your dog behave badly because it thinks that it can bark and whine its way out of there. Once you give the assurance that you’re no pushover, most of those bad manners go away. Here’s the best puppy crate training video I’ve seen so far, with practical advice you can apply straight away:
Use an anti-barking collar
Placing an anti-barking collar (this is the one I got for Payton) on your dog can really speed up the process.
This is how it works: you place the collar on your dog during nighttime or whenever the barking poses an issue. When the dog barks the collar produces a small vibration and an annoying sound. After this happens a few times too many, your dog will likely become annoyed and will stay quiet to avoid it. After more time has passed, the dog usually doesn’t bark under the same circumstances even when the collar is no longer used.
So it’s a pretty neat tool, and judging by the experience of other users as well, it has a high success rate.
5. Soundproof the dog crate
First of all, the problem with soundproofing a dog crate is the fact that your dog has to breathe. Crazy, right? In order for your dog to breath, there has to be a gap for air to come in. Unfortunately, this gap will also let noise pass through along with the air.
This is soundproofing 101 – you need to seal all the gaps to soundproof anything! So soundproofing a dog crate is not entirely realistic. What IS realistic is increasing the sound absorbing potential of the dog crate.
What’s the difference between soundproofing and sound absorption?
Well, soundproofing prevents all sounds from travelling inside or outside of a room or an object. On the other hand, sound absorption is more about muffling the sound and absorbing the echo before it can spread around. While some of the sound can still escape, you can reduce it by a lot.
Imagine standing on top of a mountain and shouting at the world. You will produce a lot of echo that will be heard beyond the mountain peak. Now imagine shouting the same way in your closet. There will be ZERO echo. That’s because your closet is a small and enclosed space, and it’s filled with sound absorbing material. In this case, your clothes.
So you’ll want to use soft, sound absorbing material on all sides of the crate, except one, so that there is a reduction in noise while still allowing air to pass through.
Upgrade the dog crate cover
Now, I don’t recommend throwing piles of clothes on the dog crate, because it would look very messy. There are already affordable and nice looking dog crate covers that can get the job done.
This dog crate with a cover that would work really well. Not just because of the cover, but also due to the crate pad and bumper that comes along with it. The more soft and dense material there is inside the crate, the more sound absorption you’ll get.
IMPORTANT: make sure that the cover is large enough to cover your dog crate before buying it.
You could also add a blanket or two on top of the dog crate cover to increase the thickness. The more dense material there is covering the crate, the more difficult it is for the noise to escape.
I especially recommend using the Supreme Mover blanket. It’s a moving blanket made from really dense and thick material that blocks more noise than a regular blanket. Very popular item for home soundproofing projects and I actually tacked one on my home office door. Works like magic and it quite affordable.
But a moving blanket is going to be too large for a standard dog crate, so folding it a few times is a good idea. Doing this will also improve its thickness and sound absorption. Or you can simply cut it to the required size with a pair of scissors.
A benefit of using a blanket is that you can easily remove it from the dog crate when you want and put it back on just as easily. If you want to secure it better to the crate, use small pegs like clothing pegs in a few spots.
6. Soundproof a wall/floor/ceiling
Although you cannot soundproof the dog crate entirely, you can soundproof a wall that is leaking out to your neighbors or your bedroom. This way you can also block other sounds.
But let’s say that it’s your upstairs neighbors who are unhappy about the barking. In that case, soundproofing your ceiling would be the right choice.
If the noise is bothering your downstairs neighbors, floor soundproofing is the more logical option.
Of course, these projects cost more than covering the dog crate with a blanket or a cover. But if you want more quiet time and privacy in your home in general, you can learn to do it through these articles.
7. Soundproof the door
Many doors are hollow and have small gaps around the door frame. Soundproofing the door is pretty simple and it can drastically reducing barking and other noises from escaping the room.
Sealing the door frame gaps with weatherstripping tape and attaching a door sweep to close the bottom gap between the door and the floor is a good start. And if the door is thin (most interior doors are), you can cover it with some soundproofing material like the Supreme Mover blanket.
You can read my full door soundproofing guide for more ideas.
8. Soundproof the window
What if the barking noise escapes through a window in your home?
This can easily be solved by hanging noise-reducing curtains on the window, and using a few more methods like sealing gaps in the window frame with foam tape.
Here’s my window soundproofing guide that explains how to use these methods and a few others.
Final Thoughts: How to Soundproof a Dog Crate
Crate training your doggy and making him feel safe are important for reducing the barking and whining, especially if you have a puppy. In addition to this, adding a cover, plush toys and blankets to the dog crate can muffle the barking and whining souds.
I implemented all of these ideas when I was training my beagle. When I brought him home (early 2015.), I didn’t even know what a dog camera was. I probably would’ve used one as well, at least for the fun of it and to make sure he was doing okay while I was at work.
So I hope you find some of these tips helpful and use them to your advantage! =)